Peyton Manning's season began drenched in controversy and skepticism. But throughout a 13-3 comeback campaign, Manning stood inside a whirlpool of what-ifs and answered every last one of them by Week 17.
Three quarters of No. 18 under center was more than enough to get the job done on Sunday, as the No. 1 seed Denver Broncos (13-3) humiliated the Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) and launch into the postseason with a head full of steam.
Manning (23-of-29, 304 yards, three touchdowns) masterfully distributed the ball to nine targets, with Demaryius Thomas racking up 122 receiving yards.
The Broncos defense stifled their opponents, adding four sacks and nine tackles for loss to the unit's collective stat line.
Denver showed no respect to Kansas City's passing game and repeatedly stacked the box, limiting Jamaal Charles to 53 rushing yards on 14 attempts.
But he still bolted for more yardage on the ground than his quarterback, Brady Quinn (7-of-16, 49 yards), managed to gain through the air.
With Sunday's blowout, the Kansas City Chiefs acquired the No. 1 overall pick in next April's 2013 NFL draft. Their offseason begins tomorrow morning.
The Denver Broncos earned the privilege of resting next week when the playoffs begin.
Sunday's box score provided by ESPN.
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